« AnteriorContinuar »
festivals, cannot be properly styled one. It was celebrated the tenth day of the month Tisrid; and was named the great feast, or the fast only, because they fasted all the day long, and began even the day before, but especially because this was the only fast enjoined by the law. This probably is the fast mentioned in the Acts, where it is said, that they were afraid of a storm, because the fast was already past ; that is, it was about the beginning of October, when sailing becomes dange
It may however be understood of a fast of the heathens, which was celebrated about this time, as we have observed on that place.
The institution of this day, and the ceremonies performed upon it, may be seen in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. Of those ceremonies some were to be observed both by the priest and people, as the abstaining from all kind of food, and all manner of work; others related only to the high-priests. Seven days before the feast he left his house, and went into the temple, to purify and get himself ready against the approaching solemnity. On the third, and seventh, some of the ashes of the red heifer were put upon his head, which was a kind of expiation. The night before the feast, he washed several times his hands, his feet, and his whole body, and changed his garments every time. When the day was come, after the usual sacrifice, he offered several others both for the priests in general, and for himself and his family in particular*. For his family he offered a young bullock, on which he laid his hands, and confessed his own sins, and those of his house. He afterwards cast lots upon two goats, that were offered for the people, one whereof was to be sacrificed, and the other sent into the deserts. From thence he came back and slew the calf and the ram that were appointed for
(d) Which was the first month of the civil year. (e) Acts xxvii. 9.
(f) Lev. xvi. 29. and xxiii. 27, 28. * They offered on that day 15 sacrifices, viz. 12 whole burnt-offerings and other expiatory sacrifices both for the people and priests. (9) Lev. xvi. 8.
the expiation of his own sins, and those of his brethren
When all these preparations were over, he went into the Holy of Holies, in the dress of a common priest Ť, and burned before the mercy seat the perfumes which he had brought from the altar. This perfume raised a kind of a cloud, that hindered people from looking into the ark", which was reckoned a heinous offence. Then he came out to receive from one of the priests the blood of the young bullock, and carried it into the Holy of Holies, where standing between the staves of the ark, he sprinkled some of it with his finger upon the mercyseat
And by this ceremony he made himself fit to atone for the sins of the people. Afterwards he came out of the Holy of Holies, to take the blood of the goat he had slain k, which he sprinkled upon the mercy-seat, as he had done that of the bullock before. He came once more out of the Holy of Holies, and took some of the blood of the goat and bullock, which he poured into the horns of the inner altart, near the veil that divided the holy place from the most holy, and also on the basis of the outer altar. Each of these sprinklings was done seven times. Lastly the high-priest laid both his hands upon the head of the other goat, and had him conveyed in the wilderness by a fit person, after he had confessed over him the sins of the people, and laid them upon his head'.
This was a very expressive ceremony. The sins of the people were done away by the sacrifice of the first goat, and to shew that they would be had no more in remembrance, the second was loaded with them*, and carried them with him into the wilderness, which was thought to be the abode of devilst, the authors of all vice and iniquity. And therefore the people were wont to insult over and curse him, to spit upon him, to pluck off his hair, and in short to use him as an accursed thing. There appear no foot-steps of this usage in the law, but it is certain that it was very ancient, since St. Barnabas“, who was cotemporary with the Apostles, makes express mention of it.
+ Because this was a day of affliction. (h) Lev. xvi. 12, 13. 1 Sam, vi. 19. (i) Lev. xvi. 14.
(k) Lev. v, 18. 1 Which were hollow for that purpose. See before page 46. (1) Lev. xvi. 21, 22, 23.
* This goat was called azazel, that is, according to some a devil, because it was sent away with the sins of the people, as hath been said elsewhere. The LXX. have rendered it by a word that signifies to remove or turn away eril. The word azazel may also signify an emissary or scape-goat, from the word[AZ] which signifies a goat, and azal to separate. See Prid. Conn. p. ii. b. i. under the year 291.
The ill treatment Jesus CHRIST met with from the Jews, had some conformity with this custom, and it is evident that his enemies dealt with him in the same manner as they were used to do with the goat azazel, as Tertullian hath observed". It is very probable that the ancient Jews took occasion from some passages out of the prophet', to bring in the custom of insulting thus the goat azazel, and crowning him with a red ribbon 1.
If it be asked, For what reason God was pleased to choose the vilest and most despicable of those animals that were clean, to be offered on the day of expiation, we shall answer with some learned authors': that the Egyptians entertaining a very great veneration for goats, and the Israelites themselves having worshipped them in Egypt?, God's design was to turn them from this kind of idolatry, by appointing the one to be offered for a sacrifice, and the other to be loaden with the iniquities of the people.
When the high-priest had performed all these func
+ It was a common opinion among the ancient Hebrews, that deserts and uninhabited places were the abode of devils. Matt. xii 43. Rev. xviii. 2. (m) Ep. p. m. 22. This epistle must have been written not long after the destruction of Jerusalem. (n) Tertull. adv. Jud. 1. iii, 3. (0) Isa. i, 6. 1. 6. liii. 3. Zechar. xii, 10.
Or, a piece of red stuff which was in the shape of a tongue, saith Lamy, p. 134. It was also a custom among the heathens to load with curses and imprecations those human sacrifices that were offered for the public welfare, and to crown them with red ribbons. See Virg. Æn. l. 2. v. 133. (P) Bouchart. de Animal. Sac. Ser. I. i. c. 53.
(9) Lev. xvii. 7.
tions, he went into the court of the women, and read some part of the law. Lastly, he came the fourth time into the Holy of Holies to fetch back the censer, and the pan
wherein the fire was. When therefore it is said in scripture ", that the high-priest entered only once a year into the Holy of Holies, it must be understood of one day in the year, and not of once on that day. Every thing was done in order, and when one function was over, he was obliged to come out and perform other ceremonies; which, according to the law, could not be done in the most holy place, as washing himself, changing his clothes, slaying the sacrifices, &c.
We have dwelt the longer upon this feast, because it hath a greater conformity with the Christian religion than any other, since through all its parts it was typical of the most important mysteries of Christianity. The feast in general was a most lively representation of the atonement which was made for the sins of mankind by the blood of Jesus CHRIST. It is observable that PhiloJudæus had some notion of this truth, for he says' that the Word of God, whereby he means the Son, is the head and glory of the propitiation, i. e. of what renders men acceptable to God. These passages of scripture, that Jesus Christ gave himself a ransom for many", that he was made the propitiation for our sins", that he was the propitiation not only for our sins, but also for those of the whole world", and such like expressions that occur almost in every page of the gospel, can mean nothing more, but that Jesus Christ hath, by the sacrifice of himself, performed that which was only prefigured by those of the law, and particularly by the general and solemn expiation we are now speaking of. The same Jewish author quoted just before, had also some notion of this matter. It will be proper to set down his very
Exod. xxx. 10. Lev. xvi. 34.
Phil. de Somn. p. m. 447. (u) 1 Jobniv. 10.
Heb. ix. 7.
(t) Matt. xx. 28.
words, not as if we thought they were any confirmation of the Christian revelation, but only to shew that these were truths which the wisest part of the nation acknowledged, and had found out by close and serious meditation. He
saith then, that whereas the priests of other nations offered sacrifices for their own countrymen only, the high priest of the Jews offered for all mankind, and for the whole creations .
And not only these sacrifices that were offered on the day of expiation were a more exact representation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ than any other, but also the person, by whom the atonement was made, was in every respect qualified to represent the high-priest of the Christian church. And that,
1. Upon the account of his dignity, which, according to the Jews, was at its utmost height, when he entered into the Holy of Holies. For which reason he was called Great among his brethren': this dignity was so very considerable, that Philo does notscruple to say, according to his lofty and rhetorical way of speaking, that the highpriest was to be something more than human, that
he more nearly resembled God than all the rest, that he partook both of the divine and human nature*. It seems to have been with a design of expressing both the holiness and dignity of the high-priest, that the law had enjoined none should remain in the tabernacle, whilst the highpriest went into the Holy of Holies".
2. He further represented our high-priest by his holiness. We have shewed before what extraordinary care the law had taken to distinguish him from his brethren in this respect. It was to denote this holiness that in the anointing of the high-priest a greater quantity of oil was used, than in that of his brethren, from whence he was called the priest anointed'. Nothing can
(y) Philo de monar. p. 637.
(z) Lev. xxi, 10. * Philo de monar. p. 63. de Somn. 872. (a) Lev. xvi. 17. (6) Lev. iv. 3, 5.